On June 11, 2011, members of the Mormon Stories community held their 2nd regional conference in Salt Lake City.

Part 1: Anne McMullin Peffer welcomes participants and delivers a preliminary draft of a “shared values statement” that attempts to specify the values uncorrelated Mormons hold in common. Then, in a keynote address entitled “No More US and THEM”, author, poet and playwright Carol Lynn Pearson discusses her vision for a more inclusive Mormonism.

Part 2: In this keynote address entitled “Mormon Identity in the 21st Century: Claiming and Belonging”, professor and author Joanna Brooks explores a more expansive vision for Mormon identity.

Music by Holly Anderson Robbins.

Part 3: In this panel presentation entitled “Navigating an Open Approach to Mormonism”, professors Margaret Toscano and Joanna Brooks, along with Carol Lynn Pearson, Jared Anderson and John Dehlin discuss inclusivity, openness, and an expended approach to Mormon identity, while also fielding practical questions from the audience.

Part 4: At the close of this conference, attendees were invited to share their “testimonies” of truth, whether traditional or non-traditional from an LDS perspective.

Part 5: After the conference, Comedian Bengt Washburn performed a short routine on Mormonism.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:


  1. carolyn_gertsch June 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    Take a listen, it was a really great event and a lot of wonderful insight was shared. Can’t wait to attend again :)

  2. Jenneology June 22, 2011 at 12:56 am - Reply

    This quote, this, is what I wish: “Orthodox Mormons, unorthodox Mormons, should be constantly thinking ‘What’s my next pioneering step? Where do we go now?'” There are so many frontiers we could be pioneering on: Mother in Heaven, gay issues, metaphysics, the physiological basis of the Spirit. Oh its my prayer that we could all feel safe hungering and thirsting after righteousness in this way.

    • Anonymous June 22, 2011 at 12:59 am - Reply

      Amen, sister Jenne.

  3. Doe Nan Daughtrey June 22, 2011 at 2:34 am - Reply

    I’m so sad I wasn’t able to come, but next year it will be my priority. Can’t wait to listen!

  4. Lietta Ruger June 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    Absolutely stunning podcast!    I sooooo appreciated Carol Lynn Pearson poignant expressions.   She and this beautiful group of people reflect the Mormon identity I am carving out for myself.  I was especially taken with the connection she made between pioneer heritage and today’s pioneers, that is absolutely my belief for today’s young (and older too, if can let go of some of the orthodoxy) LDS pioneers.  I believe this church is looking for pioneering direction in which to steer the 19th century church into the 21st century and sturdy young pioneers are much needed to provide exactly that kind of shoulder to the wheel help.  The manner in which she embraced in her talk and poems the multitudes of different stages of the continuum in which people express their Mormonism brought me to tears.  Not such a big deal, I know because there is a lot of crying in this church.  But for people like myself who have learned to hold back tears, it is a big deal.  Truly may we all be graced in this journey forward, exactly as she stated, by reloading the handcarts, keeping what is precious, discarding what is not….. 

    • Anonymous June 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Lietta!!!! So glad you enjoyed.

    • Jeff Ricks August 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      I think that Carol and others should keep in mind is that what might be “precious” to one person is not necessarily precious to the other, so don’t fault those who have thrown out things that are precious to you.  They may not be precious to them.  I frankly have a hard time finding anything of Mormonism that is worth clinging to it to retain because in my experience the good parts of Mormonism are found in abundance outside of Mormonism, and outside of Mormonism you don’t have to struggle with the parts of Mormonism that are not so precious (i,e, the frustrating, confusing, duplicitous, controlling, oppressive, and less than honest parts of Mormonism).

  5. […] The following is pulled from a talk given by the President of the Oakland Stake in California in Fall 2010, as reported by Carol Lynn Pearson, a member of that stake, in a talk she gave in the recent Mormon Stories Conference entitled “No More Us Vs. Them”. […]

  6. Odell Campbell June 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    I guess I am not really interested in the progression of Mormonism. I am glad that I am no longer a Mormon and that my children will not grow up making oaths to give all they possess to the LDS church.  Instead of working to reform the LDS church, I would prefer to see it dissolved.  While I am under no delusion of it actually being dissolved, I am also under no delusion of it ever reforming from the bottom-up to be more inclusive and to be less dogmatic.

  7. JCH June 27, 2011 at 2:55 am - Reply

    The Stake President that Sister Pearson mentioned is presiding over the most liberal stake in the church according to some of the brethren.  He does a marvelous job. He has established a practice to have new converts perform baptisms for the dead within the first month that they are baptized.  He is always there to assist with them and usually the other members of the Stake Presidency are there as well. I will never forget being in the baptistry of the Oakland temple performing the ordinance of proxy baptisms and having him come down into the font right after three dear older Sister of African descent that had recently joined the church.  I assisted in bring two of them into the church. Seeing the look of love and fulfillment on all of their faces will stay with me forever. The gratitude that I felt in my heart for that good Stake President on that day and many others was overwhelming. 

    We need to take care not to rend the tent as we widen the  stakes of the church,  Give all of God’s children an opportunity to conform their lives to that that the Lord has prescribed by His living prophets.  This is one of the mandates of His church.  For those that find fault and choose another path, I will pray for them as I am sure some of them will pray for us who remember the undeniable spiritual experiences that make it much easier to choose to stay.

  8. Eric June 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm - Reply

     I really like the theme of “no more us vs. them”.  I have to admit though, I’m on the non-believing side and it’s really hard to get rid of the “us vs. them” mindset.  Even in the last poem that Pearson shared, about drawing a circle that includes the ones doing the ostracizing, there is still an us and them.  In that context, I suddenly think I’m the better one for being inclusive of orthodox family and friends, which seems to be adding to the “us vs. them” mentality.  It doesn’t mean it’s impossible; I really like the cliche circle.  It just means it’s hard.  But the message is a very great one and I need to figure out how to make it genuinely work in my personal relationships.

  9. Lizanell Boman June 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Carol Lyn has such a beautiful speaking voice!  I am loving this podcast. 

  10. […] recently attended a conference in Salt Lake City about exploring Mormon identity (see the opening here, or a news write-up here, or another attendee’s perspective here). My main motive for […]

  11. N. June 29, 2011 at 1:06 am - Reply

    I wonder if anyone sees the “us v. them” as “cool, progressive mormons v. troglodyte tbms” .  If that distinction were brought to naught, which side would you prefer assimilate?

  12. daytimedreamer July 5, 2011 at 3:45 am - Reply

    I love Mormon Stories, and I think it is terrific that they have decided to have these conferences, it is something I believe that have been needed for a very long time

  13. Anonymous December 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    I’ve been in the church for 35 years and served as Bishop, etc., and I don’t remember another church talk that moved me like this one did.  What a find.

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